Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We Live in a Very Strange World...But There's Hope for Us Yet

I tend not to pay attention when other guys are doing their business in the restroom. Seriously, I know some guys that chat up a storm, look around at everything or everyone else, and generally treat the restroom as a social experience. Me, I'm simply there to do my business and get out while remembering to wash my hands, although sometimes it might take a bit. I can't tell you how many times I see people leave the restroom and not wash their hands, it really bugs me especially when people around my office start to catch colds and such. Washing your hands is a great way to not spread icky germs, and it's just common courtesy. But I'm willing to not be such a stickler about that, as I witnessed the most insane thing at a urinal today at my office.

Look, I know guys sometimes will grab reading materials to read while doing their thing, I've done it more than a few times myself, but today, I saw someone sending text message while doing their business at a stand up urinal. The guy had both his hands texting away while he was urinating. I had to do a double and triple take to make sure I was seeing this right, because I was shocked as much as anything that someone feels that texting is so important, they need to interrupt bodily functions. I know people send texts when they sit down, but this was the first time I saw it done standing. And while part of it was a bit funny, I just hope that I'm never in that situation where texting rules my life.

I already have enough issues remembering to turn on my phone when I leave the house, which then leads to girl leaving me crazy messages about "gee, I'd love to give you a ride home from work but your phone isn't on so I guess you can just walk home." And I really like my phone from Motorola, it's got a camera and a few other bells and whistles that are rather interesting. But I don't view my phone as a necessary accessory. I spend a lot of my day on long conference calls, and so I really don't like to talk on the phone in general unless necessary. I tend to text only when I'm running late to meet someone or I'm wanting to confirm plans about something and it's easier to send a text to someone rather than calling. One of my cousins bragged that she'd sent over 5000 text messages last month, and while that's an impressive number, I'm sure people have sent more.

I understand texting and being on cell phones, because they do make conversations convenient when needed and help in emergencies, but I also think that in some respects, they make some conversations impersonal and less important. I can't tell you how many times I am on MAX and people are blathering on about whatever they feel like on their phone as loud as they can, privacy be damned. Maybe they get a thrill talking about their conquest last night, but seriously, I've got better things to do than unintentionally eavesdrop. I also hate people driving while talking or texting and they aren't using a hands free set. I already get a little freaked out driving with aggressive folks on the road, and now you add people that are driving while talking and so they are barely paying attention to either task. I've seen numerous near accidents from drivers and pedestrians just walking while talking on their phone, and nearly missing cars. I think my phone is a nice feature, but I'm not willing to die for the privilege to talk on it.

Mind you, some people may say that I'm just older and I don't get what it means. Seriously, I get it, and whatever conversation you are having on your phone isn't as important as paying attention to the road and being courteous to other people wherever you are. The only exceptions I could see are in emergencies, and unless you are a doctor, fireman, police man or some other important official type person, I can't imagine any conversation that is so important that it can't wait until you arrive at your destination in one piece. But that's the world we live in...

But there are things that give me a little bit of hope. Portland is buzzing about Rudy Fernandez, the newest member of the Portland Trail Blazers. He arrived from Spain on Tuesday to start training camp, and was met by approximately 200 Trail Blazer fans at the airport. He signed autographs, posed for pictures, and heard the crowd chant his name, including interrupting one television interview because of the noise level. Rudy even admitted that he was overwhelmed by the reaction, and was ready to get to work as soon as possible. It's just amazing to think that we're only a few weeks away from the start of the season, and the town is buzzing about Trail Blazer basketball.

And why not? The youngest team in the NBA finished at .500 last year with 41 wins and 41 losses, and added the number one pick from last year's draft, Greg Oden, the MVP of the Vegas Summer League, Jarryd Bayliss, and an MVP from European basketball, Rudy Fernandez to a formidable lineup. The team is loaded, and will make some noise this year as long as injuries don't ravage the team and expectations and minutes can be dealt with. I believe we have an extremely competitive team, and give it a few months, they could be a force to deal with. While practice is good, there's something about the regular season that puts things in perspective and I want to see our guys deal with some of the road trips, tough matchup and things to see what we've got going on. But the attitudes and comments are all positive..

And Rudy is at the center of all of that. He did an interview with 95.5 The Game on Wednesday afternoon, and was funny, engaging, and happy to be here. He was a true professional, even though his English was a bit rugged at points, but he got through the interview and said in two months, I will be fluent and I want to come back and talk to you more. He mentioned his family, who will be coming over to live with him, being influenced by his mother, father and sister who all played basketball, and his successful resume from playing overseas. But he's ready for a new challenge, and that all starts here in Portland. He even indicated that my role on this team is whatever my coach says I need to do, because it's important for me to fit in here. You keep hearing that from all of the guys coming up, top to bottom, and you can't help but be encouraged especially after the most recent dark days of Trail Blazer history. My hope is that these guys remained focused and committed to their plan, and if they do that, there's no telling where they might end up at the end of the year. Let's just hope they're more careful with their cell phones..

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